H.E Muammar al-Qadhdhafi
Head of State
Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
H.E Mr Abd al-Rahman Mohamed SHALGAM
Excellency, allow me first of all to wish you and the people of Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya a progress and development.
Excellency, allow me again to thank for the positive role that the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya played in the transformation of the Organization of African Unity to African Union. I hope that the African Union will accomplish the expectation of the people of Africa. I hope that the African Union will be the catalyst for positive injection for renewal of Africa in different aspects such as democracy and good political governance and in eradication of poverty and economical development.
Excellency, according to the Amnesty International’s information, of the 430 detainees, 130 detainees, including several women and children, are detained at a detention centre in al-Marj, 1,000 km from the Libyan capital Tripoli, while the remaining 300 are detained in Misratah, about 200km from Tripoli.
Most of the detainees are conscripts who fled Eritrea to avoid military service. The right to conscientious objection is not recognized in Eritrea and if returned they will be at high risk of being arrested and tortured. Military service in Eritrea, which, in practice, lasts for an indefinite period, is compulsory for women and men aged 18 to 40, although the age limit for women was reportedly reduced to 27. There are no military courts and military offenders are arbitrarily punished with torture ˆ being beaten and tied for hours or days in painful positions ˆ and indefinite incommunicado detention in harsh conditions.
Groups of refugees who were forcibly returned to Eritrea from Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in 2004 and from Malta in 2002 were held incommunicado upon their arrival. Many were tortured and some died while in custody. Amnesty International documented their treatment in its report Eritrea: ‘You have no right to ask’ ˆ Government resists scrutiny on human rights (AFR 64/003/2004, May 2004). In August 2006, 300 Eritreans were detained in Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and threatened with deportation. It however appears that they were not deported although the whereabouts of some of them remains unknown (see UA 225/06, MDE 19/004/2006, 24 August 2006).
Excellency, the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Union Convention on the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, have the obligation to not return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, including torture. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has recommended that even rejected asylum-seekers should not be forcibly returned to Eritrea. It is not clear that these detainees have been allowed access to UNHCR officials in Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or any opportunity to formally apply for asylum.
Excellency, I hereby appeals to you and to the people of Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya not to forcibly return any Eritrean nationals to Eritrea, where they would be at risk of torture, as well as indefinite detention without charge or trial.
Excellency, I appeals for all Eritreans detained in Libya to be treated humanely and given immediate access to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tripoli to enable them to apply for protection if they wish to do so.
Mussie Ephrem (v)
Politisk sekreterare/ Political adviser
Tel/ Phon: 019-211130 eller 019-101214
NB: "This Action Alert reaches to 1687 different members of Journalists, Lawyers, Government officials and Dedicated Eritreans & friends of Eritrea world-wide."
The Eritrean Community for Human Rights and Refugee Protection
P.O.Box 41174 Arlington, VA 22204 USA